It’s a Draft

“The best writing is rewriting.” -E.B. White

As I launch into the final action sequence of this book, my husband hovers over me a little bit.  He is a math guy.  He likes numbers.  He thinks about how long the first book in the series is, and then he looks at the page count for this second book, and he says things like, “Honey, how long do you think this one will be?  About the same?  Give or take ten pages?  So you’ve written almost seventy percent of a book.”

“It’s a draft,” I reply.

Last night, he was pretty excited about it.  “Honey, you’ve already finished more than eighty percent of a book.”

“It’s a DRAFT.”

“Fine, eighty percent of a draft.”

He thinks I am downplaying my accomplishment.  He wants to buoy me up.  He’s wonderful.

But man, it’s a draft.  A drafty, creaky, ramshackle draft.  There is a world of difference between the draft and the book.  Or at least, there is for me.  I’m not like my friend Lisa, who lingers over every sentence, tooling and retooling it in her mind until it comes out exactly the way she believes it must be.  I am crash-bang-boom, get the pages out, and when, on page 300, I realize that someone I introduced on page 75 has never returned, I think, “Whatever.  I’ll fix it later.”  And I keep going.  I can’t think about it being eighty percent of anything, because it’s still just a platform. 

Rereading this book is going to be a shock, and rewriting it is going to be intense.  I’d better put it aside for a while, when I’m done, so that I don’t undermine my self confidence again.  I might even move on to the third one, and then double back for this one when I’ve had some time to think.

Part of me actually wants to draft the whole series so that I have my head around it, and then rewrite it as a whole beast, instead of in sections.  But that’s probably overly ambitious.  Still, if nobody buys it or agents it anytime soon, then I might have a lot of time ahead of me to do all the drafting I want. 

Two weeks, and I send to the next agent.  Two weeks!  I’m looking forward to that.


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